Charles Lipson

The shameful silence about the Hunter Biden laptop story

Joe and Hunter Biden (photo: Getty)

Well over a year after the presidential election, long after all mainstream media outlets killed a legitimate story about Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop, the New York Times finally announced it had ‘authenticated’ the computer and its messages. The computer, left at a Delaware computer repair shop, is filled with damning information about Hunter’s operations, which appeared to take advantage of his family’s political power. Hunter’s only proper marketable skill was opening doors with his last name. It’s still unclear how deeply and directly Hunter’s father, Joe, is implicated in this sleazy business, which went on for years. Not that the Times wanted to know any of this when it mattered most, before the 2020 election.

As NPR’s managing editor for news put it in October 2020, after the New York Post broke the story, ‘We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories,’ he said, ‘and we don’t want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions.’

NPR and the Times were hardly alone in killing the story. The New York Post was the only major paper that investigated and ran the damning news. Fox News was the only TV source that reported it. For that investigative work, the Post deserved a roomful of journalistic prizes but, predictably, it received none. Why ‘predictably’? Because the folks who award prizes are the same hall monitors who try to control public discussion. They were the good folks who suppressed the laptop story in the first place.

If you are waiting for apologies from reporters, anchors, and editors who blew the story, you will wait in vain

The media malfeasance doesn’t end there. While major new outlets were killing the story, two of the biggest social media platforms, Twitter and Facebook, were making sure you couldn’t read it.

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Written by
Charles Lipson
Charles Lipson is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Political Science Emeritus at the University of Chicago, where he founded the programme on International Politics, Economics, and Security.

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